It’s the End of the Year…

And I don’t know what to think. I guess I accomplished a lot this year. But didn’t everybody? It’s kind of hard not to accomplish a lot in a year. I don’t really know how proud of myself I should be, as a result. Should I still congratulate myself? Others have done amazing things, such as saving people’s lives, or done notoriously difficult things, like quitting smoking. Or maybe they made it on Broadway, or got cast in their first major role in a film. I don’t care, really. But I do know that my most impressive accomplishment this year was the fact that I passed my Grade 3 piano exam. Never mind the fact that eight-year-olds do it all the time. It’s quite surprising that I even passed it in the first place, given my current level of negligence in practising.
I nearly failed that exam.
I SHOULD HAVE failed that exam.

Oh, well. Moving on, I guess.

As I write this in the late hours of the night (or early hours of the morning??), on December 31st, 2017, I can’t help but wonder if New Year’s resolutions are even helpful. I mean, most people fail at them. So I guess the only way to not fail would be to only have one New Year’s resolution: to fail at your New Year’s resolutions. But then you have a paradox, because in not failing, you have failed to achieve your goal of failure, which was a failure in of itself… I should really write stories about thoughts like this instead of making you read them in my little corner of the internet. Not that anyone reads this thing… Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to be anonymous. It was never my goal. This blog is linked on my social media accounts. People can find it if they wish to. But somehow, I doubt they will.

I know someone else who has a blog. She’s my age. She keeps hers way more anonymous than I do, however, and her blog is much more successful because she has picked a niche and stuck to it. As if I could do that. I suck at even staying on topic within my own paragraphs, within my own blog post. Which brings me back to my point: Should I be proud of what I have accomplished this year?

I’m very ambivalent about the response. Not that I don’t care… I simply don’t have an answer. In some ways, this was a good year. A very good year, in fact. I achieved straight As in school for the first time ever (which may surprise those of you who know me personally). I participated in a fashion show as a designer for the first time ever, and though it was just a high school event, it was a great experience I learned a lot from. I started a novel, breaking my (lingering) qualms over fiction writing. I discovered a love for writing dialogue. I completed three full sketchbooks and 90% of a fourth. I submitted to a literary magazine for the first time. I submitted to my school’s art show for the first time (and trust me, that can be scary when you go to an art school). I did so many wonderful things. But yet…

Here are some of the nastier things about this year:

  1. I put on weight. Not in a healthy way though. Not at all.
  2. Did I mention the lack of exercise?
  3. Did I mention the lack of sleep?
  4. I spend too much time on the Internet nowadays.
  5. I suspect I have spent more time on YouTube this year than I ever have before.
  6. Still haven’t killed my nasty procrastination habit.
  7. I panicked in front of an audience for the first time this year…

And many others. I really want to start getting in more exercise. I want to kill my procrastination habit as well. It doesn’t make me happier. It doesn’t help me get anything done. And it’s a complete waste of my time.

My relationship with procrastination is much healthier than some other people’s, though. I know someone who once left an entire summative to the night before. He had to come up with a ten page research document and a twenty slide presentation. How he managed that, I do not know.
I suspect he plagiarized most of it.
But is that okay? I do procrastinate as well, but I do understand when to pull back and WORK. I have to. I hold myself to stringent and unrealistic expectations of perfection which I almost never attain. But I wouldn’t call that unhealthy. I’m just ambitious, I guess.

This year I learned that while I have the capacity to be a natural leader, I’m not interested. Not really. I’ll do it if I feel that no one else wants to, or that the current leader is, well, inadequate. Because I can do the job. And I do it well. But in all honesty? I prefer to do my own thing. Strange for an extravert to say, isn’t it? Don’t worry, I also like to not-so-quietly critisize others. I don’t pull any punches.

But it really sucks that there is so much misunderstanding around introvert/extravert types and what it means. I am an extravert. But I do not hate being alone. I quite enjoy it, actually. I need my alone time. But I also need social interaction. I crave it. I’m the one who initiates conversations with long lost friends. I love people. But I don’t understand why people seem to think introverts hate people. That’s not the definition of introversion, it’s more like… social anxiety (but don’t take my word for it). I know introverts who love people and social interactions. But they do need their alone time. It’s simple. Extraverts are energized by social interaction. Introverts are energized by quiet time alone (or with a few quiet people) and are generally drained by social interaction. Get with the program, people. Saying that introverts hate people is like saying that all people hate running because it makes them tired. That might be true in a few cases, but it’s not a generally true statement and should not be proclaimed as such.

And… I managed to deviate from the theme of this post again. But here are a few of my goals for 2018:

  1. Exercise more regularly. Join a sporting club or something.
  2. Reduce time spent procrastinating.
  3. Draw something every day, no matter how small or sketchy.
  4. Engage in personal writing at least twice a week.
  5. Figure out a few career options (instead of blindly having no idea what to do).
  6. Finish composing one of the gajillion songs I’ve started.
  7. Develop basic dance skills (I currently have none).
  8. Learn Excel spreadsheet stuff.
  9. Read more non fiction.
  10. Submit to four literary magazines.

And there you go! Some of my goals for this year. I know I will most likely fail at some of them, but they’re nice to have anyway. Gives me a place to start. And maybe this isn’t a goal, but more of a promise to myself: I will get to know myself better. I will engage in thoughtful self reflection. Because now is  the time, right? When you’re young and teenage?

Anyways, Happy New Year! (If you celebrate it
– Rebeeks

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Summer

I think summers are wonderful, but this one just isn’t really working out for me. Really, last year’s didn’t either. I’ve always seen the summer as a great time to just branch out and do stuff that I can’t do during school, but I actually spent more time both writing and drawing for pleasure during the school year. Go figure (although that may be explained by the fact that a) I’m in a writing program, and writing kinda comes with the territory, and b) I was required to keep a sketchbook for art class, and since I do like drawing well…). I’ve wanted to write more code, like maybe write a video game or something. I KNOW I can write a crappy video game in a month, because I’ve done it before. And I do want to try it again.  But the thing with leaving all the these fantastic plans to the summer is that you really can’t get everything done. I think the summer is really better for either starting or finishing big projects, rather than starting and completing big projects.

I guess some people might disagree with me. But to me, that was a HUGE realization, and it sort of makes sense. I really only have time to start and finish one big project during the summer. And most of the time, I want to do many, many things, like writing a book, or writing and mixing a song, or composing electronic music, or even writing code for a video game. And I’m a multitasker. I suck at getting things finished. It’s a fact in my life. So instead or trying to finish all these things, I just go to summer school and try to finish an entire high school course in like, three weeks. It might seem a bit counter intuitive, but it makes the most sense for me. First of all, that is the only way I am guaranteed not to waste copious amounts of time on the internet for two months. Also, I like the feeling of accomplishing something tangible. Passing a course is not a small feat, and it’s a credit. Also, I despise math, so I usually just try to get that out of the way. But it also gets me into the habit of valuing my time and dividing it up accordingly. Again, I’m a multitasker. School does not prevent me from multitasking.

So now summer school is over, and I’m working on a whole bunch of projects at once. But I’m starting to think about simply getting the projects started. Maybe not finishing them, but I should just pick one, get a huge chunk of it done, and then dabble in the others. Hmmm…

-Rebeeks

On Fiction Writing

Sometimes I don’t understand why, deep inside me, there is still an impulse to write. Why am I doing it? sometimes it actually doesn’t make sense to me. I always start a lot more poems than the number of poems I actually finish; why, I do not know. Or actually, I do know. To me, inspiration is something which is fleeting as the wind. It comes and goes like the wind. Sometimes I wonder how actual writers, real published authors, overcome this. But maybe they don’t. John Green did just go like, at least 3 years without publishing a book.

A few months ago I decided I sucked at story-writing and almost gave it up completely, but I couldn’t. I always tell people I am primarily a non-fiction writer, which is true, and I wear that self-appointed label like a badge of honor. Why shouldn’t I? These days, all people seem to care about is fiction. And I do love fiction as much as the next person, but I love my essays too much. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a literary narcissist. I spend way too much time writing about my life, my experiences, my joy, my sorrow… I know my life is complicated, and I do like giving myself a voice. But I realize there are others, other people, other problems, other complications in this world. I’m just not necessarily qualified to speak of any of them. And so I know the non-fiction genre, unpopular as it is, has a lot to offer. And it has a special place in my heart. But I still find it quite impossible to give up fiction.

Perhaps it is good that I can’t give up fiction, but it does cause me some issues. I am not confident in my ability to make up and tell a good story. At all. The last time I tried, I came up with eight pages of rambling nonsense. And as we all well know, rambling nonsense is not conductive to telling a good story. At all. My characters are flat and there is generally a glaring absence of plot. But for some reason, despite all of this, there is a tiny voice in my head telling me not to give up.

Well, it’s actually not one voice. It’s voices, plural. I swear there are sometimes characters in my brain clamoring for me to tell their stories. I am not making this up. One, it actually drove me crazy for about two weeks, and I was forced to sit down and take extensive notes on this character and her family. I haven’t started telling her story, yet, though. And I think deep down I fear that if I give up fiction, I will irretrievably lose a part of myself, the part of myself that is a storyteller at heart and loves bouncing story ideas off other people. That has been a part of me since my earliest childhood. Where is the confidence I had, back in fourth grade, back when I thought I could write mystery novel? What happened to the sixth grader who thought she could win short story contests? I admit I’m scared. I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid of becoming incoherent and messy in my writing again. I hate being messy and incoherent. But what do I do?

For the first time in almost three years, I am writing a story. It may be a short story, it may be a novella, it may be a novel. Who knows? But the effort counts. I am not saying I haven’t written fiction in 3 years. I am saying that I haven’t done it for myself, with passion, with actual belief in what I am doing and the story I am trying to tell, in 3 years. It’s a lot. With that time gap my adventurous self is returning. I am trying new genres; I’m experimenting. I’m going all out. I don’t hate writing fiction. I’m trying to regain the confidence to be able to look past my shitty first drafts, the confidence to even begin those drafts. I hope I find it again, because deep inside, I miss my inner novelist.

On Me and Writing Poetry

I’m in my poetry mode right now, which is such a rare thing for me that I just try to take advantage of it. I mean, I’m a prose writer, which means I do things such as write in paragraphs, not in stanzas; use punctuation properly, such as putting periods at the ends of sentences (and not ending lines without them). Prose also does not have to be poetic or metaphoric (although it can be those things as well) and is generally not a rhythmic style of writing.

Ha. That means the way we usually speak can be considered prose (or if we want to be fancy, dialogue, although dialogue can be in poetry as well). 

When I’m in poetry mode, I generally attempt to rhyme things and binge write poetry, which I really need to be in the right mindset to write. My poems are generally a constant refrain in my mind during that time. I know I’m really in poetry mode when I tend to rhyme my sentences when I speak French. Actually, that it THE key indicator. French is my first language. It’s also a language that I don’t spend much time writing in (and that I never write poetry in). When things in French become rhythmic and start to rhyme, I probably should be using that brain processing power elsewhere.

I also write poetry in a very different way than I write prose. My poems are never free form. They always have some rhythm to them, and most of them rhyme. I spend a lot of ime reading them to myself, and I edit things, and change words on the go. The next stanza is usually not started until the first one is complete. I mull over my phrases even when I’m not writing them. So when a poem is done, it’s done. It’s not getting edited any further. Well, sometimes I do change minor things. Tweaks, really. But rarely.

When I write prose, like essays or stories, I just write for as long as I can and worry about editing later.
So don’t ask me why I don’t edit my poems. I probably spend more time editing them than I spend editing prose. It’s just, I edit them WHILE THEY’RE BEING WRITTEN. Not at the end. (And as you may know, these posts don’t even get edited.)

So that was my rant of the day.

-Rebeeks 

On Nanowrimo, Typos and Other Things

God help me.

Nanowrimo is very, very, time-consuming. In fact, I should probably be working on my story right now. But I am just so annoyed at it, and I guess I just don’t know where it’s going.

So you know what? I gave up. After four thousand, five hundred,  and thirteen words.
Huh. Good job to me. Actually, never mind that. I suck.

I have discovered that I am utterly incapable of motivating myself to do anything. Which is why I’m typing this blog post instead of stydying for the dumb science test that I have tomorrow. I really am an idiot. Thank God I don’t go to an IB program school. I would just about die. (And people say I’m smart. What are they thinking?)

So yeah. I’m in a writing program and I’m not even capable of writing 670 words everyday to meet a good of 20 000 words. That just doesn’t say much about me as a writer.

Things I Have Written Instead Of The Novel I Was Going To Write:

  1. Bad poetry.
  2. A dumb essay on character development, adversity, and tigers. Don’t ask. (And yes, it was an assignment.)
  3. Emails and text messages that showcase how boring my life is.
  4. An essay about perception.
  5. More bad poems.
  6. This blog post.

    Do any of those include the words “novel”, “dumb novel”, or “stupid novel”?
    No? I thought so.

    On a completely different note, my work has been published on my school’s literary magazine and there are currently two typos in it. I actually can’t stand to look at it. It been bugging me for days. Days!
    And have you ever had the issue where omitting one word completely changes the meaning of a sentence? Yeah? Well, they did that. Do you have any idea how annoying it is? I actually had to restrain myself from yelling at the editors. 
    And of course, their website had other problems as well. It always does! Yay. I am not (let me repeat this, NOT) excited to have to be one of the editors next year, which, like so many other things, is a mandatory experience. Yay! (NOT)

    So now that I’ve ranted about NaNoWriMo and those dumb typos in my work, what’s left?
    Ah, that DUMB SCIENCE TEST that I’m supposed to be studying for.

    I hate biology. And obviously, it’s a biology test. Some people are perfectly content with doing it now to get it over with. I, on the other hand, am not. I would rather never do it.
    Unfortunately, I am not so lucky as to have that option. Screw the science curriculum that makes biology mandatory until grade 10.
    Did I mention that I have when things are mandatory for no reason?
    I need to memorize a whole bunch of terms that will probably not be any use to me in the future all so I can pass this dumb course that I really like except for this unit. I hate this unit. I will never take biology again one I have the choice.

    Screw this test.

    -Rebeeks